The Stay Interview: How to Retain Your Best Employees

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You just lost a key staffer to a new opportunity. You were totally surprised and didn’t see it coming. Now you have to find someone soon. You heard that it’s a good idea to do an exit interview.

But that may be a waste of time.

Exit interviews don’t often yield enough information to answer why your people leave. Many managers assume the reasons were better benefits and more money. If you can just pay more, people will stay longer?

If you do meet with the departing staffer, you want to know why they left and what you could have done better. But the exiting employee has no interest in being candid enough to educate you on their way out. They just want to start their next adventure.

Advanced retention techniques

The answer is the “stay interview.” It isn’t focused on why people leave. The goal is why great people stay. Just think of those who you want to keep. What makes them want to stay even though they are being recruited by your competitors.

Ask them to imagine three years in the future and ask what happened that let them know it was a great place to work and you both had a great relationship. Employees don’t leave companies. They leave because of either co-workers or bosses. This identifies what three things kept them. When you find out what those three things are, you can use them as goals for the staffer during future performance appraisals.